A6 Alliance sets out its position on WPG report

The A6 Alliance which manages more than 80 per cent of Europe’s air traffic has formally voiced its concerns about a proposed infrastructure manager, indicating rising tension on the subject of structural re-organisation and demise of the SESAR Deployment Manager.

Meeting for a first round table, hosted by the European Commission to discuss the recommendations of last month’s report by the Wise Persons Group (WPG), Europe’s air navigation services providers gather with airlines, airports, trades unions and the manufacturing industry as a first step by Brussels towards developing a strategy for improving the Single European Sky (SES) framework.

Roberta Neri, chair of the A6 Alliance, said: “We are ready to discuss important areas for improvement identified in the WPG report and to make further suggestions on the points that need regulatory and political attention. We must all the time build on what we have already achieved together, in particular with reference to the direct engagement of the industry (airspace users, airports and ANSPs) in SES, which is an important asset to be preserved and even reinforced.”

“The A6 Alliance is deeply involved in the technical and operational challenges of SES implementation. We therefore urge the EC to focus on continued engagement with operational stakeholders to identify initiatives which add value, based on transparent impact assessments and cost benefit analyses, and to define realistic and robust transition plans.”

The A6 Alliance supports certain principles raised in the WPG recommendations to:

  • adopt a more network-oriented (rather than network-centric) approach for managing Europe’s ATM network, with a reinforced and effective CDM process and governance. Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined, preventing duplication and overlap and taking into account where accountabilities and liabilities lie
  • improve the regulatory framework to refine the performance metrics (KPIs) against which ANSPs are measured, reflect KPI interdependency, and continuously incentivise the accelerated deployment of new technologies that will help increase flexible and scalable provision of capacity.  As a principle, these should be real incentives for early movers, and not transferred only to airline customers.
  • implement a Digital European Sky, and evolve the role of delivering ATM.  The A6 Alliance supports the Airspace Architecture Study (AAS) and the introduction of a Seamless European Airspace System. The SES Digital Backbone (SDB) proposed by the A6 Alliance and Eurocontrol is an example of the active role of ANSPs as one of the instruments of choice to manage the implementation of the Digital European Sky.

Some ideas put forward in the report require further discussion before the A6 Alliance feels able to support them. These include establishing a contractual capacity-based system, and the creation of a network-wide Infrastructure Manager.  Other ideas, such as a common route charge over a Seamless European Upper Airspace System and a European-wide economic regulator are not supported by the A6 Alliance, which is unconvinced of the feasibility or benefits such approaches would deliver.

The A6 Alliance said it looked forward to continuing discussions with policy-makers and operational stakeholders on how best to progress the Single European Sky initiative, taking into account the WPG report, the AAS and other contributions such as the recently published CANSO 8 point vision.

Collectively, A6 Alliance members are responsible for the safe management of more than 80 per cent of Europe’s air traffic, and more than 70 per cent of the investment in the future European ATM infrastructure.